For over a year, a privacy tarp has stretched the Florida State campus for a long-awaited new Student Union that has been under construction since the summer of 2018.
While construction for the union was set to be completed by fall of 2021, students eagerly await the opening. On March 30, Vice President for Student Affairs Amy Hecht announced that the union will soon be hosting a send-off to graduates on April 28, with more details coming soon.
As students’ anticipation grows for a highly coveted Student Union, attention has shifted toward the procedures of sustainability practices.
While the sustainability procedures in regard to composting may be at a disadvantage due to the location of the Tallahassee area, FSU is committed to creating sustainable change through this new Student Union, according to University Communications.
The new Student Union is being built with the hopes of being a central student hub like it was once before.
The original union opened in 1952, when enrollment at FSU was less than 5,000 students. Then, 12 years later, an expansion followed which included dining and game rooms, barber and beauty shops, lounges, offices, meeting rooms and an Olympic-sized swimming pool. As the number of students grew, the need for new amenities and facilities quickly followed.
The new union space will allow for successful collaboration opportunities and engagement opportunities among the students on campus. It is hoped that the union is following in Seminole Dining’s footsteps in making an effort to create a healthier campus community through sustainability practices within the restaurants themselves.
“Bottle filling stations are included (to discourage plastic bottles),” said Amy Farnum-Patronis, director of FSU Communications. “We have utilized energy efficient glazing (windows and glass), maximized the green space and use of outdoor space, developed a green roof, and will be commissioning building systems to ensure efficiency and occupant comfort. The building has lots of windows for daylight and views. ”
Currently, the union is merely a large outline of its final form, with some brick walls beginning to go up. As students stroll by, they witness concrete and bricks that rise 80 feet at their highest point. The new union is meant to surpass its predecessor in every way including utility, aesthetic and stature. The cost of construction of the new Student Union is $ 143,835,519.
The university has been very intentional in facilitating ways that the design of this Union will benefit students in tangible efforts, according to University Communications and the union website. Sustainability practices were considered both during construction and for after the Union becomes available to the public for use. From lounge spaces to workspaces, this union is being designed to bring the FSU community together through connection and engagement.
“We have included relocatable partitions in order to allow for future changes without construction waste (in lieu of traditional walls),” Farnum-Patronis said. “We have promoted inclusion for accessibility and gender – will have the first multi-fixture gender neutral restroom on campus. Once operational, we will utilize the FSU Sustainability office’s procedures for recycling and waste collection.”
Briana Daceus, a senior double majoring in Political Science and Sociology, said “I started my time here at Florida State without a union, and I’m leaving without one. I hope the union becomes a place on campus that helps awaken the FSU spirit we all grew to love pre-COVID. “